Electrical problem of heart defibrillators was cause of death

The maker of an internal heart defibrillator admits it waited three years before telling some 24,000 patients and their doctors about an &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/cis/2001/08/20/12840.html ' target=_blank>electrical problem that caused a small fraction of the implanted devices to short-circuit.

The admission by Indianapolis-based Guidant Corp., reported Tuesday by The New York Times, came about after a Minnesota college student died on a spring-break bicycling trip in March.

The death of 21-year-old Joshua Oukrop of Grand Rapids, who had a genetic &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/science/2005/05/11/59696.html ' target=_blank>heart disease, is the only one known.

Guidant disclosed the flaw in its Ventak Prizm 2 Model 1861 to Oukrop's doctors and told them about 25 other cases in which the defibrillator had malfunctioned. It did not, however, issue an alert to physicians until it learned the newspaper was preparing a story on the defibrillator, informs CBC News.

Company officials did not return calls seeking comment Tuesday from The Associated Press.

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